Christmas mince pies are a festive favourite for foodies. Why not add this to your silly season spread?
NZ Christmas mincemeat
100g mixed peel
30g blanched almonds
1 lemon, grated zest and juice
1 orange, grated zest and juice
Quarter cup brandy
Quarter cup sherry
Half tsp allspice
Half tsp ground cinnamon
Half tsp ground ginger
150g brown sugar
2 ripe bananas
Place raisins, sultanas and peel in a processor and pulse well. Add to a large bowl with currants, almonds, zests and juices, brandy, sherry and spices.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan over low heat and stir in brown sugar. Add sliced bananas to the butter and sugar, mashing them in well. Continue cooking until thick and smooth. Add to the remaining ingredients, stir well and cover.
Leave at room temperature and stir again the following day, before placing in a covered plastic container in the fridge. Can be left up to several weeks to mature. Add to pastry parcels, decorate and bake accordingly.
Entertaining shouldn’t seem a chore. If hosts are having fun, guests have a ticket to relax. Simple catering puts emphasis on friendships; not elaborate food.
It’s great to make a sweet slice ahead of time; even better if it’s flourless for gluten-free or low-carb guests. Chocolate-based recipes that use ground almonds are fab. Next, a trip to the supermarket will do almost all of the food-and-drink prep for you. That’s because a few luxe ingredients are often all it takes to make an occasion feel special and taste delicious. A range of different craft beers and wines to different tastes will cater to everyone.
Good-quality breads and crackers are ideal. Ciabatta can be fried up in quality olive oil with a little lemon, garlic or chilli seasoning to become the basis for a dipping-platter to accompany drinks. It’s a good idea to research which relishes and salad dressings are your favourites, then simply add sour cream and make dressing bowls to accompany freshly chopped vegetables.
Good quality nuts, olives and cheeses, partially dried fruits, naan breads, guacamole, plus pastry nibbles from the supermarket’s freezers are all good investments for the outdoor entertaining season. Cream, full-fat yoghurt, sodas, tonics, limes, lemons and fresh herbs will all be useful when presenting platters and drinks.
Creatively concoct mocktails using drink concentrates as the base flavour. If the colour’s gorgeous, all the better. Add napkins and jugs of iced water to your table, and voila!